CORPORATE BRIEFS

Slovak Rail ends first half with 2 billion crown loss

Železnice Slovenskej Republiky (ŽSR-Slovak Rail) reported on August 5 that it had ended the first half of the year with losses of 2.04 billion crowns ($49 million), an 847 million crown improvement over the same period last year and 33 million crowns less than called for in ŽSR's business plan for 1999.

Costs remained almost unchanged, up 0.6% from 1H98 at 11.4 billion crowns. Revenues increased 10.9% to 9.4 billion crowns, largely a result of ŽSR's having moved into the revenue category 1.02 billion crowns that had been created in reserves against financial costs.

Sales from passenger and freight transport accounted for 68.5% of total revenues, while state subsidies made up 11.8% of ŽSR's income. Wages were the firm's highest cost (41.8% of the total).

External indebtedness swelled 1.6 billion crowns to 32.5 billion from the beginning of the year, although some progress was made in restructuring the company's debt portfolio; in late June, long-term loans accounted for 51.7% of ŽSR's total loans and debts.

ŽSR signed a contract with the European Investment Bank on the provision of a 200 million EUR loan in late July.

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